Follow Mint Lounge

Latest Issue

Home > How To Lounge> Art & Culture > India Art Fair 2022 celebrates resilience of the art community

India Art Fair 2022 celebrates resilience of the art community

The 13th edition of the India Art Fair promises to be forward-looking with focus on new formats, emerging art spaces and creative partnerships

Viswanath Kuttum's ‘Rituals’ (2020), mixed media on board, is being showcased by Art Incept that is making its debut this year
Viswanath Kuttum's ‘Rituals’ (2020), mixed media on board, is being showcased by Art Incept that is making its debut this year

Listen to this article

For years now, the India Art Fair has kickstarted the cultural calendar in the Capital. Each February, art enthusiasts and collectors would throng to the NSIC Grounds in Okhla to soak in art from south Asia and beyond. However, the pandemic forced the fair to take a break for a year, and it is only now that the event is returning to a physical format. Rescheduled from February, the 13th edition of the fair is all set to take place between 28 April-1 May. 

Jaya Asokan, who took over as the director from Jagdip Jagpal last year, calls the fair a testament to the resilience of the art community in south Asia. This year, one will get to see an expanded roster of 79 exhibitors, including 65 galleries and an unprecedented 14 institutional participants—cultural festivals, collectives, foundations— such as the Chennai Photo Biennale, Kochi Biennale Foundation, Space Studio from Vadodara, Serendipity Arts Foundation, the Aravani Art Project, and more.

“India’s art scene is broadly collaborative. And the pandemic has made us realise the importance of the community even more,” says Asokan. “As we planned the physical fair, we made a conscious effort to bring together the various non-profits, museums, institutions, festivals, foundations and collectives who have been sustaining artistic practices, both at the grassroots and the international level.”

Also read: A book that celebrates 100 years of artist Amar Nath Sehgal

Each edition, the facade of the fair draws much attention, with artists such as Sam Kulavoor having designed it in the past. This year, through an open call by the Gujral Foundation and Artdemic, Anshuka Mahapatra was selected to create the tent facade. Featuring poetic phrases in seven languages such as Odia, Kannada and Assamese, the design celebrates hope and togetherness.

While the fair features the regular segments such as auditorium talks, film screenings, outdoor projects and artist-led workshops, this year one will also get to experience a new space called The Studio. It seeks to look beyond visual arts to create connections between design, fashion, food and technology. Some of the projects include games from artist duo, Thukral and Tagra, interactive bots from Indian techart platform BeFantastic and an installation of light and shadow play by Tapan Moharanna, the Space 118 Grant winner. “Besides looking at art within the exhibition halls, audiences also get to engage and interact with art,” elaborates Asokan. “The Studio as well as the workshop space, which hosts a range of artist-led interventions curated by Kriti Sood of LAND (Learning through Arts, Narrative and Discourse), aims to do just that. It’s a fun space for learning and experimentation, and an opportunity for artists and non-artists to mingle and share worlds.”

For some years now, the fair has been trying to extend its role beyond the annual event. The pandemic has accelerated this process. The team is now expanding its digital presence through a range of online talks, workshops and virtual exhibition walkthroughs. The fair has commissioned XR Central, an interactive tech studio, to create an India Art Fair Metaverse, which will go live on the website and serve as an engaging introduction to even for those who might be unable to visit in person.

Also read: Vultures by Dalpat Chauhan lacerates the world as we know it

Besides featuring some of the prominent contemporary art galleries such as Vadehra Art Gallery, Nature Morte, Gallery Espace, Chemould Prescott Road, Gallery Latitude 28, Experimenter, Chatterjee & Lal, the 13th edition of the fair is seeing seven art spaces make their debuts. These include APRE Art House from Mumbai, Art Incept, Gurugram/New Delhi, and Vida Heydari Contemporary from Pune. One will also see the return of four international galleries: Aicon Art (New York, USA), Aicon Contemporary (New York, USA), Grosvenor Gallery (London, UK) and Galeria Karla Osorio (São Paolo, Brazil).

With one name from Pune and the other looking at NFTs and digital art, is this a hat-tip to newer regions and mediums in art? Asokan feels that the 2022-edition is forward looking, with new artists, formats, collectors, partnerships and audiences.“We’re always looking for ways to ensure dynamism in the market, whether it is through The Studio space and NFTs presented by or our refreshed Platform section, spotlighting folk and traditional Indian art forms which paint a more inclusive picture of the art history,” she explains.

This year, the artists-in-residence programme features newer voices such as Haroun Hayward, Gurjeet Singh, Indu Antony and Arpita Akhanda. One will also see an expanded young collectors’ programme, a mix of educational and social events, including curated walkthroughs, visits to artist studios and collectors' homes, gallery openings and special evenings through the weekend.

Also read: Now a single source for 10,000 years of Indian art history

Next Story